Abel Cullum, Hunter Tucker Offer Their Insight On Ray Borg and Nick Urso Before Their Legacy FC 30 Bout


Tomorrow night the landscape of the Flyweight division within the State of New Mexico will be re-shaped when FIT NHB’s Ray Borg takes on Jackson-Winkeljohn product Nick Urso. Southwest Fight News has dedicated a lot of time to the match-up and has heralded the bout as the biggest fight in New Mexico’s history between two locally trained fighters. Friday night’s event will feature two fighters atop the list of unsigned fighters currently training in New Mexico not to mention that the fighters represent the premier talents from their respective gyms.

The 20-year old Ray Borg is well-known by locals as a true embodiment of the new hybrid style of MMA fighting that encompasses all fighting disciplines. Borg has very solid striking talents that are continuing to improve under the tutelage of Thai Boxing specialist and striking savant Arlene Vaughn. The strength of Borg however is in the fighter’s explosive wrestling and technically crafty grappling. All a fan needs to do is head over to YouTube and type in “Ray Borg Grappling” to find out in 5-minutes how good Borg is at Jiu Jitsu.

Borg started training in Tucumcari, New Mexico where he would train alongside the former King of the Cage Champion Abel Cullum and his father who train by the Cullum Fighting Systems style. Many fight fans will remember Cullum for his exciting fighting style while fighting for King of the Cage promotion and Cullum is also well-known for his adventures overseas where he fought for the Dream promotion.

While Cullum has been on a long hiatus from fighting, Borg was able to bring in his former training partner in for this camp. The arrival of Cullum was a reminder of where Borg’s career started and also of how similarly talented Cullum and Borg are in their grappling arsenals. In anticipation of Borg’s biggest fight to date, Abel Cullum offered us this about “The Taz-Mexican Devil”:

“I started training with Ray when he was 13 years old, from the day he set foot on our mats he was obsessed with improving. I’m sure it’s a lot to do with not liking being beat up by the guys in the gym, but apart from that Ray has always strived to be the best at everything he does. He’s been like my little brother, and with little brothers everything is a competition. With his competitiveness and resiliency he’s on the right path to the top of his division! Legacy FC signed a great fighter from a great gym and big things are to come for the Taz-Mexican Devil!” – Abel Cullum

On the other side of the cage. Nick Urso is quite the dynamic fighter himself. Coming out of the world-renowned gym, Urso trains with world-class teammates under the guidance and coaching of some of the best coaches in all of MMA. The training has complimented Urso’s natural talent and athleticism, and in a short amount of time, the Floridian has shot up the ranks from successful regional fighter to outright top prospect in his weight class.

There is much to say of the talents of Urso as not only is the Flyweight fighter an accomplished striker who has knockout power in both hands, but he is also a very technically sound wrestler and gifted grappler. Urso has shown the ability to win fights via all methods, finishing opponents with strikes, submissions, and by judge’s decision; an easy way to describe Urso’s in-cage talents is to label him as a very thorough, well-rounded martial artist.

With so many top training partners in the gym everyday, Urso is wealthy in his ability to work with some of the best guys in the world. John Dodson has blazing speed, Damacio Page has power; one of Urso’s teammates Hunter Tucker, a fellow top prospect who fights under the Legacy banner, shared his thoughts on Urso:

“It has been great to train with “The Honeybadger” the last few years. He is ridiculously strong and explosive for a 125er and has elite level skills to match. He is also extremely determined. I believe the future looks very bright for him and expect to see him in the UFC sooner rather than later.” Hunter Tucker

If we can draw a similarity between Borg and Urso it is that both fighters head into this bout with a lot of support. There teammates and coaches speak highly of them and it would be hard pressed to find two-harder working fighters matched up with one another. Stay tuned for more Legacy FC coverage and analysis and as always we encourage the fight fans to get out there to support all of our hard-working locals. Hold My Ticket (www.holdmyticket.com) didn’t have much seating available as of last night, so we urge all of you late-ticket buyers to get your tickets as soon as possible before the event sells out!


“The Dirty Bird” Returns To The UFC, Tim Means Signed Up For UFC In Cincinnati

Joining in on the fun of huge announcements, Tim “The Dirty Bird” Means had an eventful week that was significantly positive for not only himself, but for his team over at FIT NHB. Southwest Fight News has learned that Means (20-5) will join teammate Ray Borg in preparing to enter the UFC’s Octagon. The difference is, this will be the second go-round for Means.

Fresh off the presses, Means teammate Ray Borg secured the call-up to the UFC after his monumental victory over Nick Urso this past weekend at Legacy FC 30 and now the news from UFC’s news twitter handle is that Means will head back to the UFC for his second stint and his next fight will be on May 10th in Cincinnati, Ohio for the UFC Fight Night event to be broadcast on FOX Sports 1.

Tim Means will step in to replace William Macario in a 170-pound Welterweight bout against Neil Magny.The talented Illinois born fighter Magny (9-3) will look to put together his first winning streak in the UFC and will have to get past the vaunted knockout talents of Means.

In the first UFC go-round for Means, the aggressive striker with a ferocious finishing rate went 2-2 against impressive UFC talent. He won his first two bouts emphatically with his highlight being a 66-second drubbing of Justin Salas. The knees, elbows, kicks, and punches of Means quickly made the Albuquerque fighter a fan favorite and he rose the rankings quickly.

Unfortunately for Means, he was on the wrong end of two decision losses at the hands of wrestling driven fighters. In a controversial decision, Jorge Masvidal defeated Means despite several analysts making the argument that two rounds were won by Means. In his next bout, Danny Castillo would implore a grappling focused game plan.

After the Castillo loss, Means would find himself outside of the UFC promotion and joined the Legacy FC ranks. He would revitalize his career in the Texas-based promotion with huge knockouts over Pete Spratt and Artenas Young. Means would open eyes with the Young stoppage as Young was a Legacy mainstay and had been aligned to the Jackson-Winkeljohn and Lutrell’s MMA gyms. With those two knockouts to add to his highlight reel, many believed Means wasn’t far off the call back to the UFC.

Means returns to the UFC as a Welterweight despite his initial UFC career being at the 155-pound Lightweight weight limit.

Stay tuned for more coverage on this announcement including bout details and breakdown. We want to send our best wishes to Tim Means and our congratulations to him and the FIT NHB team on his return to the Octagon.


Ralek Gracie denies rumors of Kenny Florian appearing in ‘secret match’ at Metamoris 4

Some disappointing news for fans hoping to see UFC fighter turned commentator Kenny Florian hit the mats next month.

After Brazilian outlet Tatame reported Florian had been tabbed as one half of an intriguing 'secret match' at Metamoris 4 on Aug. 9, it doesn't appear to be happening. Metamoris Founder Ralek Gracie confirmed with MMA Fighting Monday evening that the report was false and that Florian would not be competing at the event.

Alongside Abu Dhabi Combat Club and Metamoris 1 veteran Jeff Glover, Florian commentated Metamoris 3 on March 29. Although the upstart promotion has shuffled its commentating crew for each event, Florian and Glover are still featured on the event's official webpage.

Headlined by retired UFC standout Chael Sonnen and ADCC gold medalist and 2008 IBJJF world champion Andre Galvao, the secret match is a new addition for the promotion's fourth event. The idea being that spectators and fans won't know who is competing in the secret match until right before it happens. The two men competing in the match presumably won't even know who they're facing until they step on the mat.

Featuring six submission-only, 20-minute grappling matches, Metamoris 4 takes place at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, Calif. and streams live as an online pay-per-view for $30 at Metamoris.com. The full card is as follows:

-Chael Sonnen vs. Andre Galvao

-Josh Barnett vs. Dean Lister

-Saulo Ribeiro vs. Robert Comprido Medeiros

-Vinny Magalaghaes vs. Keenan Cornelius

-Garry Tonon vs. Kit Dale

-Secret Match


WBC, Telmex sponsorship announced

The World Boxing Council and the Nevada Community Foundation have announced a historic agreement between the WBC and Telmex Foundation. Under the agreement, Telmex will provide a $150,000 sponsorship to the Jose Sulaiman Boxers Fund. Telmex will deposit the sponsorship moneys directly with the Nevada Community Foundation. Telmex’s sponsorship arose from an agreement with the WBC under which referees officiating WBC-sanctioned events and corresponding undercard fights will wear the WBC uniform, which includes the logo of Telmex Foundation.

Throughout its history, Telmex’s continued support of many worthy endeavors, has transcended its commercial brand quality to become a true leader of many important charitable causes. For example, through Carlos Slim’s efforts and commitment, Telmex pioneered a program called Ring Telmex. That program provides monthly support to 25 fighters, as well as a lifetime pension and medical expenses to 27 former boxing champions.

The Jose Sulaiman Boxers Fund,, which was Don Jose’s life-long dream, was created with seed money from the 2012 memorable Night Of Champions, where the WBC and the Swiss luxury watchmaker Hublot raised one million dollars. The Fund is currently beginning its second year of grants through the Nevada Community Foundation’s administration.

The WBC, the NCF and Telmex Foundation will deeply appreciate the support from all boxing commissions and federations, as well as promoters and ring officials to have this historic project become a great success.


John Lineker: The Weight is Over

The fact that John Lineker was willing to sit for an interview on weigh-in day should tell you all you need to know about how the cut for his Wednesday fight against Alptekin Ozkilic was going, and as he predicted, he not only hit the mark on Tuesday, he came in at 125.5 pounds, a half-pound under the limit.

It’s a new day for “Hands of Stone.”

“The first part of the fight is done,” said Lineker through translator Michele Spinelli Davis. Now all that’s left is the part with the gloves on, and that’s always been the easiest part for the 23-7 flyweight contender, who has gone 4-2 in the UFC despite missing weight in three of those bouts. But the 24-year-old insists that those days are over.

“For sure,” he said. “I have made a great job this time cutting weight, and I will keep working like this in the future.”

If not for his battles with the scale – and a February loss to Ali Bagautinov – Lineker might have already secured a shot at champion Demetrious Johnson. But there were too many red lights around him to put him in a fight he might not even make weight for. He admits that he thought about moving to 135 pounds, but after this smooth cut, he’s going to stay put and begin his quest for a title anew. And it starts with Ozkilic.

“I think we will both do a great fight,” said Lineker. “He is great on the ground and is also a great wrestler, but I don't want to worry about difficulties right now; I will only worry about imposing my game.”

That game includes the kind of knockout power that is rivaled only by John Dodson at 125 pounds. You don’t see a flyweight changing the course of a fight with a single punch like Lineker does, and he’s done it three times in the UFC against Azamat Gashimov, Jose Maria, and Phil Harris.

“I think that the reason for that is that I am usually the heaviest fighter in this division, and I am the one that cuts more weight,” said Lineker, and that’s certainly a good reason for remaining at 125 pounds. But it takes more than pure power to win four times in the UFC, and for this he doesn’t hesitate to reveal the trio of reasons why he believes he’s a major player in the division.

“The secret is a lot of training, focus, and faith in God,” said the Paranagua native, who can also point to determination for his success. Remember, this is the same kid who had no team with him when he came to the U.S. for his UFC debut against Louis Gaudinot due to visa issues, and didn’t even have a mouthpiece or cup. He’s come a long way since then, in and out of the Octagon.

“I can say that since I have started fighting in the UFC I gained a lot of experience and I look forward to always getting better,” he said. “Everything changes after you become a UFC fighter. My life has gone from 40% to 100%.”

Title shot or not, that’s a success story already, but Lineker – like any fighter – is hungry for more, and with John Dodson sidelined until next year, a big win from “Hands of Stone” could propel him up the flyweight ladder, something he’s aiming for.

“I think now that Dodson got injured, if I win this fight I might be closer to the title shot.”

And weight won’t be an issue.


Goal-Oriented Heavyweight Paul Cheng Dreams of Wearing One FC Gold

From wrestler, football player and stuntman to boxer and professional mixed martial artist, Paul Cheng has challenged stereotypes in pursuit of one dream after another.

Cheng now has his sights set on becoming the first Asian heavyweight champion for One Fighting Championship. The 35-year-old will face Egyptian Top Team product Mahmoud Hassan at One FC 18 “War of Dragons” on Friday at the TNU Sports Arena in Taipei, Taiwan.

While Cheng immigrated to Canada from Taiwan when he was 9, he remains fiercely proud of his Taiwanese heritage. Even the nickname he chose for himself, “Typhoon,” represents part of his homeland.

“Typhoon season in Taiwan happens every year, and it’s destructive if you’re not ready,” Cheng said. “Typhoon comes hard and fast, very similar to my fight style, aggressive and coming for the finish. I am Taiwanese with a Canadian passport; I want to make that clear. I immigrated as a child, but I have very fond memories of my roots in Taiwan. My sister lives there [and] so do many members of my family. My family and my country are behind me, supporting me, and I can’t wait for July 11. One of my dreams as a kid was to represent Taiwan in a sport; now it’s about to happen, and I thank One FC for making it happen.

“MMA has changed my life,” he added. “It gave me new goals and dreams. Now my goal is to be One FC world champion. I want to prove that I belong as one of the best big men in the world. MMA has given me so much already. I can’t wait to see where else it can take me.”

Although he made his debut in MMA later than most -- he was 32 -- in the sport, Cheng is no stranger to the discipline and dedication required of athletes. Cheng wrestled and played football in high school and college before being drafted by the BC Lions with the sixth overall pick in the 2002 Canadian Football League Draft. He was cut a few years later and forced to look for direction. Cheng’s search led him to Hollywood, where he landed several gigs as a stuntman, scoring appearances in both “Night at the Museum” films. That career first pointed him to the martial arts.

“A few of the Asian stunt guys at the time told me that I needed to learn martial arts, so I can look realistic when fighting in the movies, especially kicking,” Cheng said. “My best friend at the time and current coach, Sal Ram, was an MMA fighter, and he had insisted that I train with him. I started out with boxing and eventually learned all the rest, and to this day, Sal remains my coach and mentor.”

While the rigors of regular training were not new to Cheng, he discovered that the fundamentals of martial arts were far more demanding.

“The transition was quite difficult because, other than some wrestling I did in high school and university, I had no idea what to do,” he said. “So I started learning boxing in 2007, in which I competed professionally for a brief time, then BJJ and now I train all aspects, such as muay Thai and even judo recently. MMA training is more difficult for me because of the longer cardio aspect and training twice a day.

“Since the transition, I have lost about 40 pounds, which has helped my endurance, speed and athletic ability,” Cheng added. “Football training is harder on the body due to the hits on the body, but in MMA training, the conditioning involved is like no other sport in this world.”

While Cheng primarily trains under Ram at Clinch MMA, he has also trained with the Tristar Gym in Montreal, home to former  Ultimate Fighting Championship welterweight titleholder Georges St. Pierre. It was there that he met his current manager,  Pride Fighting Championships and UFC veteran Denis Kang, who recently opened his own gym in Seoul, South Korea.

“I met Denis Kang at the time I was training BJJ with one of Denis’ black belts in Vancouver,” Cheng said. “At Tristar, I got to work with Francis Carmont; it was a great experience learning under Firas Zahabi and [strength and conditioning] coach Jonathan Chamberg. It really opened my eyes in MMA.”

With eyes wide open, Cheng will look to take the next step toward accomplishing his dream against Hassan. A former national boxing champion, the 33-year-old Hasan was the first Egyptian to sign with Sinagapore-based One FC.

“Hassan [has] got heavy hands, and again, it’s a heavyweight fight,” Cheng said. “Either of us can go down any time, but I feel I’m a better overall MMA fighter. I plan to impose my complete MMA game on him.”

If Cheng can subdue Hassan, he hopes One Fighting Championship CEO Victor Cui, a fellow Canadian, will consider him for a potential title match. He already has an idea of whom he should face.

“James McSweeney is the guy to go through for the belt at the moment,” Cheng said. “He beat [Chris] Lokteff, so he’s the man for now.”


Holly Holm: The Preacher’s Daughter is Here

After Ronda Rousey finished Alexis Davis in 16 seconds last Saturday night in the co-main event of UFC 175 in Las Vegas, some wondered if there was anyone out there to seriously challenge the unbeaten women’s bantamweight champion.

Yet less than a week later, things just got a whole lot more interesting at 135 pounds with the Thursday signing of Albuquerque native Holly Holm.

If you’re wondering why, the 7-0 (six knockouts) record held by “The Preacher’s Daughter” is reason enough, but it’s Holm’s previous stint in combat sports as a multiple-time world boxing champion and the sweet science’s longtime pound-for-pound queen that has fight fans more than excited for her UFC debut later this year.

“I figured it would blow up a little bit just because there’s been so much anticipation and hype around it already,” said Holm. “But maybe not to the extent that it did. I’ve had Twitter for a year, and I doubled my followers in three hours. (Laughs) I didn’t expect that.”

Welcome to the UFC, Holly.

Unbeaten in an MMA career that began in 2011 but didn’t become a full-time endeavor until 2013, when she retired from boxing after a May win over Mary McGee. Just after making her announcement that she was leaving boxing, Holm told me “my heart is somewhere else, and I’m listening to it.”

She meant it too, because it wasn’t like she left the sport on the way out. When Holm retired, she did so with a 33-2-3 record, two world titles at 140 pounds, and recognition as one of the top female boxers ever, with her only competition for the top spot on the pound-for-pound list over the last few years being Norway’s Cecilia Braekhus. But mixed martial arts, which she learned with some of the best fighters and coaches on the planet at the Jackson / Winkeljohn MMA gym in New Mexico, had become her true love. A little over a year later, does she miss boxing at all?

“I don’t,” she said. “I loved it for all the years I did it, but I really don’t have the desire to do it anymore, which makes me even more happy about my decision to go with MMA. I went to some boxing fights and I really enjoyed watching them, but I just kept thinking ‘I’m so glad that’s not me anymore.’ (Laughs) I did it a long time and I wanted to make sure I did it as long as I really loved it, and that was that. I’m happy where I’m at, and I’ll always have love for boxing, my career, and the people who supported me, but it’s fun to be part of something new, learn something new, and be on a new path. It’s exciting, it’s fun, and it’s what I want to do.”

And ever since she made the full-time move to MMA, all eyes in the sport have been on her. She has yet to disappoint, showing off her next level striking in win after win. And with her previous resume and her ever-growing skill set in her new sport, the chatter quickly turned to Holm competing in the UFC. Very quickly.

“We talked about it with my coach (Mike Winkeljohn) before and we said ‘let’s get some work in and get out there and see what doors open,’” she said. “Even back then, I think (longtime promoter) Lenny (Fresquez) had talked with (UFC matchmaker) Sean Shelby to let him know that I was going full-time in MMA, so we’ve had our feelers out there the whole time, so that if the opportunity presented itself, we wanted to see what was out there, and obviously we wanted to be where the best is, and that’s in the UFC.”

Things really began to heat up in March, when Fresquez met with the UFC to discuss a deal. Those negotiations broke down, but this week, a deal was cut to bring Holm to the Octagon. And she’s ready for it.

“I thanked Lenny for all the hard work, and his hard work is over, and mine has just begun,” said Holm. “I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me.”

That’s never frightened Holm, 32, who is known for her Spartan work ethic. So is she working on her armbar defense?

“There’s a lot to work on in MMA, and obviously I want to work on armbar defense, not just for Ronda,

UFC bantamweight Holly Holmbut

for all the girls,” said Holm. “She (Rousey) is not the only one that has more of a ground game than me; a lot of people do, but obviously she’s the best at it right now. But that doesn’t mean the others aren’t a threat as well.”

And it doesn’t mean that despite only competing in MMA full-time since last May, Holm can’t hang with those who have more experience. She has been around the sport for years, her striking is impeccable, and now that she’s had a little break to heal the arm she broke in her most recent win over Juliana Werner in April, she’s been doing her homework on the rest of the 135-pound roster in the UFC.

“I’ve probably been watching more since I broke my arm because I’ve had time to do it,” she said. “I had six fights in the last year, so I always had an opponent in front of me, and I was working on a game plan for that fight, and I really didn’t wear myself out too much looking at all the girls that I wasn’t fighting at the time. I obviously watched Ronda’s fight last weekend and have been watching the other girls’ bouts since my time off, and it’s been fun just to sit back and watch it.”

Just like it’s going to be fun watching Holm in the UFC, where she hopes to get to the point where she can make history.

“When I first started doing MMA, people asked me what my goal was in this, and my goal is to be the first female that has titles in both MMA and boxing because nobody’s done that,” she said. “And it’s totally doable, and that’s my plan.”


More on Mayweather-Maidana press tour

Day two of the four-day, five-city cross-country press tour to officially announce the September 13 PPV rematch between Floyd “Money” Mayweather and Marcos “El Chino” Maidana will feature stops in Chicago and San Antonio. These events are open to the public.

Yesterday the fighters hit New York City, and after a long delay, finally made a late night appearance in Washington DC.

Here are some additional comments from both fighters.

Floyd Mayweather: “Is Maidana a better fighter than Canelo? No. Cotto? No. He’s just a dirtier fighter. I didn’t get a deep gash from a punch; I got it from a head butt…First they [Team Maidana] want to use gloves with no padding, and then they want to use knees, elbows and everything else. My back is always against the wall with Team Maidana.”

Marcos Maidana: “I fight dirty? He’s the king of the elbows.”

Mayweather pushed Maidana to bet his purse if he’s so confident of victory. Maidana responded that he’ll bet “whatever” but asked whether Floyd will let him use his gloves. Before their first fight, Mayweather reportedly paid Maidana an extra $1.5 million to switch to a different model.

Additional information on today’s press stops:

Auditorium Theatre, Chicago, IL (50 E Congress Pkwy)

Fan Arrival Time: 11 a.m. CT

Press Conference Begins: 12 p.m. CT

Six Flags Fiesta Texas – Lone Star Lil’s Amphitheater, San Antonio, TX

Fan Arrival Time: 6 p.m. CT

Press Conference Begins: 7 p.m. CT


Tapology Gives Insight To The Early Odds Of The Upcoming Legacy FC 30 Event

In just a few short weeks, the Legacy FC promotion will travel for the very first time to New Mexico where they will host their Legacy FC 30 event inside the walls of the Route 66 Casino. The event will be headlined by the most polarizing local combat fighter in New Mexico, “The Preacher’s Daughter” Holly Holm in what will serve as her seventh professional MMA bout. Included on the fight card will be several of New Mexico’s most notable and successful mixed martial artists.

The Legacy FC 30 event will be monumental for the area for a number of reasons namely the arrival of another top-tier MMA promotion. Amongst the other reasons, possibly Holly Holm’s last regional fight, the return of the Lovato brothers and a flyweight match-up that is arguably the biggest fight in New Mexico featuring two local fighters (Article coming on that soon).

In anticipation of the upcoming Legacy FC 30 event, SWFight has had its interest piqued by the trending of stats accumulated by the Tapology website. The Tapology page dedicated to the April 4th event includes tallies of predictions made by the site’s community and while the site is well-known for this aspect of the site, we thought that several of the statistics stood out.

First off, at the time of publish, the stats read 100% in favor of one fighter for two (nearly four in total) bouts. The site’s community has unanimously decided that two fighters without a doubt are the favorites to win their respective bouts. Mikey Lovato’s winning pedigree and wrestling background seems to be in high favor for his match-up against the hard-hitting boxing style of Belen’s Gene Perez. Lovato is one of two fighters to have the 100% listing on the Tapology site.

The other is Stacy Cly who is taking on Eric Saavedra. While neither fighters are notoriously well-known, the Tapology community is siding with the pro debuter in Cly over the 8-fight veteran in Saavedra.

Besides the “100-percenters”, there are two other heavy favorites and it should come as no surprise that the very popular and fan favorite Holly Holm would be held with such high regard as she takes on a foreign women who very few fight fans have ever seen in action. Holm is a resounding 98% to 2% favorite on the site and I am surprised that it isn’t a full-blown 100%.

Of the 98% in favor of Holm, 94% believe that Holly will continue her hot-streak of devastating striking displays and finished opponent Juliana Werner by TKO or KO. The remaining 6% have the three rounds of her last fight close to their memory as they believe Holm will win but she will do so by Judge’s Decision.

The minority of fans on Tapology who have picked Werner definitely have a clever fact/opinion tandem when making this un-popular decision. The fact is that Werner is a submission specialist and the opinion is that since nobody has seen Holm’s ground game, that must be where her weakness in MMA is hiding. Six women before her have stood in front of Holm only to be terrorized by strikes and the 2% who picked Werner must believe she will find a way to take the fight to the ground.

The other big-time favorite is a non-local being favored over the local fighter. Kamaru Usman of the Blackzillian fight team in Florida is leaving the humid air of the coastal state to fight in the dry desert heat of New Mexico to take on one of the state’s most recognizable iconic figures of local combat sports when he pairs with Lenny Lovato Jr.

The 3-1 Usman has a commanding lead of 96% to Lovato’s 4% in the minds of Tapology followers. While Lenny has fallen on to some tough times as of late, “The Godfather” was and has always been one of the most successful locals to compete inside the cage. Lovato has lost two straight, in that time span also having two fights be canceled due to injury; making the odds make a lot of sense in context.

95% of fans believe Usman will take a KO/TKO victory back to Florida and add-on to his 100% finishing rate thus far in his young career.

The odds don’t necessarily get more even but they do start to become more competitive statistic wise as we continue to gaze over the fight card. El Paso’s Martin Sano Jr. spent less than 30-seconds in the cage in his last bout and will put his undefeated 3-0 record on the line against the Jackson’s MMA product and Carlos Condit sparring partner Clint Roberts. A few months ago, Roberts defeated a teammate of Sano Jr.’s and did so in just over 30-seconds. The two eccentric finishers should provide an exciting match-up.

Heading into the bout, Sano Jr. is a pretty sizeable favorite at 86% to 14% for Roberts. Of the Sano Jr. support crowd, 79% of those believing he’ll win have picked him to do so via knockout. While the numbers are much smaller for Roberts, his believers tend to feel his best avenue of victory is by decision as 67% of the voters thought Roberts would pick up the Judge’s nod.

Even though it is arguably the most intriguing bout of the night, the Tapology community do not believe that the match-up will be a competitive one. FIT NHB’s Ray Borg enters into the week with the odds stacked against him as Tapology reports a 85% to 15% advantage towards Jackson’s MMA fighter Nick Urso. The two flyweights are set to compete in a flyweight battle that will name the state’s premier 125-pound fighter outside of the UFC.

The statistics get more interesting as you dive in; Urso’s 85% believe that he will go home with a Judge’s Decision as 78% voted for that method. 18% believe that his Mike Winkeljohn and Brand Gibson brand of striking will earn him a KO/TKO victory.

The 15% of Borg supporters feel that his best way to snatch victory away from the favored Urso is to do it by submission. Borg is definitely capable of submitting just about anyone in the lower weight classes and 50% of his believers must share that sentiment. The other 50% is split between KO/TKO and Judge’s Decision.

When Brazil’s Flavio Alvaro steps into the cage in Albuquerque, he will bring with him 55-total fights and a four fight win streak. When you add that magnitude of experience and match it with Albuquerque’s Donald Sanchez and his experience of 42-fights then you will have almost 100 fights in professional experience inside the cage.

The majority of fans voting on the event’s listing feel that Alvaro will walk into the cage with an advantage. 82% of voters selected Alvaro to win and of those, 83% believe that the only way he will take a victory from the tough, hometown fighter is to win a decision on the scorecards.

In the case of Sanchez, his 18% basically believe the same as the pro-Alvaro crowd in that if he wants to keep a victory his own in his hometown that he will need to outlast his opponent over the course of three rounds. Sanchez currently rides his own four-fight win streak and will represent the world-renowned Jackson’s MMA gym after spending several years down the road at the FIT NHB gym. Despite being a prolific finisher, Sanchez currently has only 20% of his voting crowd selecting him to finish the durable Alvaro.

The last bout we will discuss is also the most competitive in voting terms as the 54% to 46% odds are easily the most closest set of numbers heading into the lead up for Legacy FC 30. Judgement MMA’s Adrian Cruz is one of New Mexico’s biggest draws and despite a recent setback is still considered by many to be one of the top-tier regional talents in the area. On April 4th, Cruz draws Enrique “Henry” Briones who is part of the massive wave of Mexican MMA taking over the area. Briones joins such notable names as “Moggly” Benitez and “Dodger” Montano as part of the group that trains at Jackson’s MMA.

Briones currently holds the advantage in what has been a sliding scale that has drawn even and has also favored Cruz. At 54% Briones is currently the statistical favorite and in the most intriguing fight on paper will head into the two-week mark with the lead over the popular local fighter. Of Briones support crowd, 69% believe he will need to bite down on his mouthpiece for 15-minutes to outlast Cruz to a Judge’s Decision.

Rio Rancho’s “Killa” Cruz may be the slight underdog at the moment but he is believed by his supporters to have the ability to handle the talents of Briones and win a Judge’s Decision. 64% of his voters believe that to be true and the other 36% is split down the middle believing that Cruz can actually get the fight finished before the end of three rounds.

Those are the numbers fight fans! Go and check out the Tapology site to follow the numbers and trends as we continue to inch closer to the fight date of April 4th. While these stats have little to do with what we will actually see in the cage, it is a fun way to be interactive as fight fans. We hope to never discount a fighter’s abilities and simply pushed this idea as a way to generate fun discussion amongst fight fans. With that being said, what do you think about the odds and share your own with us in the comment section or on our social media sites!


Aljamain Sterling Ready to Be a Bantamweight Contender Following First UFC Stoppage

Aljamain Sterling continues to improve each time he sets foot inside the Octagon.

The 24-year-old finished Hugo Viana via elbows and punches from the top position late in the third round of his tilt at  UFC Fight Night Cerrone vs. Miller following an impressive striking and grappling performance in the first two frames.

The win comes on the heels of Sterling’s Zuffa debut at UFC 170, a unanimous decision victory against Cody Gibson.

The Serra-Longo Fight Team member was ecstatic with his performance against his Brazilian foe.

“It felt awesome. My first fight in here I didn't really feel like I showed what I can really do,” Sterling said in a post-fight interview. “I have a lot more in the tool bag. I believe in my team; we have a strong team pushing us.”

While Sterling was able to put his game plan in motion, the former Cage Fury Fighting Championships bantamweight titleholder praised the performance of his opponent and put the rest of the 135-pound division on notice.

“Honestly, I put a lot of pressure on myself to come out here and really try to do great things. [Take] nothing away from Viana though, he’s tough as nails,” Sterling said. “I was definitely in here trying to show everyone that I’m here. I am ready and going to be a contender for sure.”


Jessica Andrade, Valerie Letourneau matched for UFC Fight Night 51 in Brazil

Jessica Andrade will take part in the second-ever UFC female fight in Brazil in September.

UFC announced Monday that Andrade is set to battle Valerie Letourneau at the Fight Night 51 card at the Nilson Nelson gymnasium in Brasilia on Sept. 13. This is the first UFC female match-up in Brazil since UFC 163’s Amanda Nunes vs. Sheila Gaff in 2013.

Andrade (11-3) looked impressive in her past couple appearances inside the Octagon, scoring decision victories over Rosi Sexton and Raquel Pennington. The Brazilian hasn’t lost since her UFC debut against Liz Carmouche.

Letourneau (6-3), who moved up from flyweight to bantamweight for a chance in the UFC, recently defeated Elizabeth Phillips in her Octagon debut at UFC 174. The Canadian’s only loss over the past six bouts came in a split decision against fellow UFC fighter Claudia Gadelha in 2012.

UFC Fight Night 51 is headlined by the rematch between Antonio Bigfoot Silva and Andrei Arlovski.


Palacios returns September 20

Former two time world title challenger Francisco “Wizard” Palacios (21-2, 13 KOs) returns to the ring on September 20 at the Mela Room in Orlando, Florida. Palacios founded World Wide Elite Entertainment last month and will promote the event as well as fight. “This is a new venture for me and something that I need at this point in my career,” said Palacios, who last fought in September 2012. “I fought twice for a world title and won my first 20 pro fights, only to have politics put me on the sidelines. As a promoter, I’m not only going to get myself back in the title picture but also assist other fighters that were mistreated in the past.”

The co-main event will feature super middleweight Rowland Bryant (18-3, 12 KOs). Separate undercard bouts include world title challenger Mike Marrone, Contender Season 4 Alum Alfredo Escalera Jr. and 2008 Cuban Olympian Idel Torriente. All opponents are TBA.


Donald Cerrone finishes Jim Miller twice in one round

The second time around, there was no mistaking it for a low blow.

Cowboy Donald Cerrone thought he had the finish earlier in the second round of his lightweight main event against Jim Miller on Wednesday night. But referee Dan Miragliotta erroneously ruled a perfectly placed body kick a low blow, giving Miller a reprieve.

Cerrone wasn't fazed, though, and the finish came soon thereafter. Cerrone landed a head kick to earned the knockout at 3:31 of the second round, a spectacular end to an action-packed UFC Fight Night 45 in Atlantic City, N.J.

He started worrying about the body, said Cerrone, I started thinking about drinking those Budweisers tonight.

Miller (25-4, 1 NC) got the best of a back and-forth first round, giving as good as he got in the standup, winning the scrambles and scoring takedowns.

By the end of the first, Cerrone had found his groove, and he thought he had the finish with the first kick in the second. Cerrone refused to fault the referee afterwards.

You gotta follow the refs, Cerrone said. That's what the refs are for, and I'm glad I finished it.

Cerrone has now won four fights in the past eight months to the day, dating back to UFC 167. The popular finisher is content to take the fights as they come.

I want to fight as soon as possible, Cerrone said. Whoever's out there, I want to fight.

In the co-main event, Edson Barboza did what he does best. The 28 year-old-Brazilian lightweight finished Evan Dunham with a vicious liver kick earning the TKO win at 3:06 of the first round.

Barboza (14-2), whose only loss in his past five fights is to Cerrone, recorded his fourth kick-related stoppage finish, the most in UFC history.

Everybody knows my background is in Muay Thai, said Barboza. I saw his elbow a little bit, and just as my coach taught me, it was the opening I needed for the win. I'm feeling great.

In his first fight since he began training at Arizona's MMA Lab, Rick Story had an easy go of it in his welterweight bout with overmatched late replacement Leonardo Mafra. Story (17-8) was rarely in danger and finished things off at 2:12 of the second round with an arm-triangle choke.

Dunham (14-6), who was once a highly regarded prospect who won his first 11 pro and first four UFC fights, has now dropped six of his past nine fights.

Going to train at The Lab in Glendale, Arizona with John Crouch and Benson Henderson got me in great condition and ready for anything, Story said. Their help speaks for itself. Just look at my performance tonight.

Story has won two of three and is 4-4 in his past eight.

Things weren't looking so hot for Boston lightweight Joe Proctor in the early going of his bout with Justin Salas. Proctor came out of round one with a huge hemotoma on the left side of his head, perhaps the biggest one seen in the Octagon since Mark Hominick's memorable UFC 129 fight against Jose Aldo.

But Proctor (10-2) rallied in the second and scored the first finish of his UFC career. Proctor dropped Salas (12-5) to the mat with a big counter left hook and rained down a series of uncontested hammer fists for the victory. The time of the TKO was 3:27 of round two.

Everybody knows I like to finish with my right hand, but I was able to finish with my left hook, which was great, said Proctor. I've been working and working on my boxing and looking for the knockout and it finally came.

John Lineker took the adage about not letting the fight go to the judges about as close to the edge as you can take it. His furious flyweight scrap with Alp Ozkilic was going down to the wire when Lineker finished him off with a furious flurry. The time of the TKO stoppage was 4:51 of the third round. The bout was tied for the third-latest finish in a three-round fight in UFC history.

He liked to play my game and that let me go for the striking and the exchange, Lineker said. I found the right openings at the right time and that enabled me to get the knockout.

Fighting as a short-notice replacement, Missouri's Alex White played with fire against dangerous Brazilian striker Lucas Martins in a featherweight bout. And while it made for an entertaining slugfest, it didn't end well for White, who was on the wrong end of a memorable knockout.

Lineker (23-7) won for the fourth time in his past five fights, and, notably, has made the flyweight limit twice after missing weight in consecutive fights.

Martins (15-1) clobbered White (10-1) with a left-right combo to the jaw, and White had a delayed reaction as he wobbled for a couple second before collapsing to the mat. Martin got the KO win at 2:08 of round three.

With the victory, Martins now has UFC wins at 135, 145, and 155 pounds.

I have heavy hands and a long reach, said Martins. I knew once I was able to start hitting him, it was a matter of time before I won the fight.

The American Top Team's Gleison Tibau's UFC record 21st lightweight fight in the company was victorious, as he scored a unanimous-decision victory over Oregon's Pat Healy. The judges' scores were 30-27 and a pair of 29-28s.

Pat Healy is strong, Tibau said. I trained with the best wrestlers in the world and he was still unbelievable. The reason I got this win and was able to go the distance was because of the structure and conditioning I got with American Top Team at home. I injured my finger early in the year and I missed time, but now I'm back and want to fight again as soon as possible. I want to break the record for the most fights in a year. I'm ready to go.

Tibau (29-10) is 13-9 in the UFC (including a loss at welterweight to Nick Diaz in Tibau's first UFC fight in 2006), with nine of those wins coming by decision. Healy (29-20, 1 NC) has lost four in a row.

The evening's opening bout was noteworthy as it marked the first women's strawweight fight in UFC history. In a battle of previously undefeated 115-pounders, Brazil's Claudia Gadelha (12-0) scored a unanimous decision over Finland's Tina Lahdemaki (5-1). While the judges' scores were 30-26, 30-27, and 30-27, the scores don't reflect the fact a game Lahdemaki hung in there over the course of 15 minutes, particularly after withstanding a one-sided first round.

I'm so happy to be in and win the first strawweight fight in UFC history, Gadelha said.  Since I wasn't able to get into the TUF show, this is my present! I tried my best and I'm happy with the fight. I am ready for whatever the UFC gives me next. I was the top contender in Invicta and I am ready to fight the winner of the TUF 20 finale.


Dereck Chisora and Tyson Fury agree to big-money bet ahead of rematch in Manchester

Dereck Chisora and Tyson Fury shook hands on a £100,000-bet on the outcome of their heavyweight rematch on July 26 during a heated press conference on Monday.

The British and European titles will both be up for grabs in Manchester when the pair clash for the first time since Fury beat Chisora on points in 2011.

After delivering a barrage of personal insults at his opponent, the Londoner offered £10,000 as the winner-takes-all bet only for the challenger to insist he would give that amount to his two children to go shopping!

Fury then suggested that £100,000 was worth it and the pair shook on the new bet befor tempers boiled over and the conference was brought to an end.

Earlier Fury said: For me this is nothing more than a stepping-stone fight.

This is Dereck Chisora's final crack at the whip - but for me this is a stepping stone.

Dereck Chisora is a journeyman, what champions do to journeymans is they smash them to bits.

If I can't smash him to bits then I must be a journeyman too.

Undefeated Fury took Chisora's British and Commonwealth titles when he won at Wembley Arena three years ago, as well as ending his opponent's unbeaten record.

Mean nothing

The 6ft 9in fighter insists, however, the British and European belts mean nothing to him and promises to hand them back to Chisora even if he wins.

His European title and his belts - I'm not interested in them, I'm giving them back after I beat him, Fury said.

He's the challenger, he's the chump and he's 10 levels below me and I'm going to prove that by smashing his face right in.

Every time he thinks of Tyson Fury in the future he's going to wish he'd never heard that name.

I'm going to annihilate him. He's going to sleep for good. There's no doubt in my mind. I'm flattening his big, ugly, fat face.

He's the ugliest man I've ever seen, he can't talk, he's useless, the only thing he's got about him is he's a bit tough and he comes forward and swings some shots.


Tony Bellew quick to re-open war of words with Nathan Cleverly

Tony Bellew reignited his fierce rivalry with Nathan Cleverly seconds after his fifth round stoppage of Julio Cesar Dos Santos in Liverpool.

The home favourite made his second fight at cruiserweight a successful one, following up his win over Valery Brudov in fine style, but the sparks flew outside the ring immediately after the fight.

Cleverly had earlier defeated Alejandro Valori in a fourth round stoppage on the same bill and the pair were interviewed together afterwards, with the victories pointing to a rematch between the two foes.

Welshman Cleverly successfully defended his WBO light-heavyweight title against Bellew in October 2011 before losing the belt to Russia's Sergey Kovalev last August.

Bellew said: He knows I want to do it. He knows what I want and we can do it. I ain't 175 (pounds) now. We both know deep down that I was dead at them scales. The tables have turned son.

I ain't a 16-fight novice who has only fought at British title level. I am now an established pro who has fought better pros than you in lesser fights.

Let's get this straight, I've achieved the same (as you). You're a plastic world champion. You were never a true world champion. We fought for a belt that shouldn't have even been a world title. It was no better than a domestic title. Forget that belt, forget everything. I just want to hurt you.

Cleverly was keen to engage with his old rival, coming out fighting as well.

Don't worry about this talking. I've already come to his home town and beat this guy and guess what? I'm going to do it again and this time it will be in Cardiff, he said.

Keep on talking mate because I've already beaten you. I'm going to spank you again. I've already spanked you and I'm going to do it again.

Promoter Eddie Hearn gave a strong indication that the rematch would take place before the end of the year.

We're looking at October or November, here, Manchester or London, it doesn't matter. It's going to be a great fight, Hearn said.